Having managed to defeat the small patrol of the mysterious slavers. However, after retreating back to the hilltop encampment it became clear that the group had been tracked and a small army of the creatures emerged from the woods, intent on slaughter. Thinking quickly, the group decided to pack up the camp and attempt to flee to the south. A small rearguard was formed to draw attention and slow the pursuers. With the aid of powerful infernal and elemental allies, the rearguard was able to delay the enemy long enough for the group to escape, and then break contact with only minor injuries. After the circle regrouped at the crossroads, they made plans to travel north into the Barrows via the Aveline river. A small advanced party was organized to travel to the town of Heskell to purchase wagons and provisions, as well as charter passage north on a small flotilla of riverboats. Things proceeded smoothly and good progress was made, until the dawn of the 5th day of a seven day journey. A small armed camp was spotted in the distance and it became clear that it was some kind of armed checkpoint. The boat crew grew uneasy as they recognized the inhabitants of the camp; Nehemiites. Religious fanatics that wished to impose a harsh dogmatic law on the whole world. Thinking that the zealots were unlikely to let them pass unmolested, the circle made brief preparations and attacked preemptively.